Vietnam - Abandoned Cargo Advice

After which time is a container officially abandoned in Vietnam?

This is 90 days but there are some other issues to consider, such as but not limited to the posting of statements by carriers that "cargo in said container is up for auction if not claimed". This must be posted in at least 3 tabloids and/or public notice boards within a 90-day period.

Does the Member need an official written letter from the customer that he abandons the cargo?

Yes, both shipper and receivers need to state clearly, they abandon such cargoes. If both do not issue such letters of abandonment, carrier needs to retain all such correspondence for presentation to customs if letters of abandonment fail to be provided.

What are the options to get the cargo released once it is ceased by the local authorities?

Parties have to proceed under the guidelines set by the local authorities, failure to do so may result in said party being implicated in illicit trade.

Is it possible for the Member to survey, sell, auction or destroy the cargo in this jurisdiction?

Yes, but depends what type cargo it is, that it does not pose any environmental risk and all necessary customs and legal procedures are complied with. Even then, one must have an approved company licensed to dispose of abandoned goods. If the cargo is perishable, lesser time limits apply to the above and disposal/destruction may be permitted case by case earlier.

Does the Member need to obtain a court/customs order to have authority to dispose the cargo?

Customs order only is required, assuming the cargo has not been smuggled and/or is considered illegally imported such as again but not limited to tobacco, alcohol, ivory, other such restricted goods. In such cases the Police conduct their investigations and only they can decide when and if the cargo can be destroyed, re-exported, etc. The police need not communicate with any party until such time as they have concluded their investigations. Cargo and container are similarly detained by them and cargo will not be removed from the container irrespective that the carrier is found not liable.

Will the container and cargo be blocked by customs?

Yes, but if the cargo is latterly authorised for destruction, and the cargo is then devanned the container can be returned. This is not the case if police as stated above, suspect smuggled goods whereby all property is seized.

Are the ports willing to waive the storage/electricity costs once the issue has been resolved?

Yes they can depending on the relationship of the carrier, their agents and with customs, but generally a compromise can be reached.

Source of Information


Staff Author